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Tips for a Shorter Wait in Urgent Care

Woman saves time in urgent care by booking online

Boise, ID, May 20, 2024 – A prolonged illness season, closures of non-Primary Health clinics and an ongoing shortage of healthcare workers are contributing to longer waits in urgent care in the Treasure Valley.

“We’re seeing much less COVID and flu now, but plenty of cold viruses are still circulating,” explained Physician Director of Urgent Care, Dr. Ann Weiss. “We’re also starting to see some stomach flus, which are pretty common this time of year. When you combine these illness trends with routine physicals and drug screens, plus injury and worker’s compensation visits, it all adds up to a very busy urgent care setting.”

Alecia Dobson, Chief Operating Officer, added, “We ask for feedback after every visit, and the number one complaint we’ve heard this spring is related to wait times in urgent care. We want our patients to know we hear them, and we’re doing everything we can to make their wait as comfortable and short as possible. We provide water, coffee, phone chargers and WiFi in our lobbies, and also have patient transfer protocols when there’s a nearby clinic with shorter wait times. Our staff are also feeling the effects of this busy season and we ask for everyone’s patience and understanding during this time.”

One additional factor is the ongoing staff shortage, which spans many roles in healthcare in the US including family doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, radiology (x-ray) techs and medical assistants. 

Patients can shorten their wait in urgent care by doing the following:

  • First, reserve your urgent care visit before you come in to the clinic. Patients who booked online in April saw their wait times reduced by up to 20 minutes. 
  • Second, when possible, plan your urgent care visit for a Saturday or Sunday after 11 AM, or a weekday from 6 – 8 PM. Avoid peak times like Mondays, weekend mornings and weekdays around 5 PM. 

It’s important to note the longer waits and shortages do not apply to routine scheduled visits in family medicine, pediatrics or specialty practices. Primary Health has a number of appointment-based providers accepting new patients